Ecology, Featured, Introduction

We Are Water

Water is an essential component to life and the development of life. Our bodies are one of the most complex systems anatomically known. It’s no coincidence that the two go hand in hand. Our bodies need water to survive and it is a balance, not too much, not too little. This balance can be altered by external and internal forces. External forces can include issues such as wind or elevation. Internally or balance of hydration can be effected by medical conditions or even the food we have eaten or how much of it we ate. Let’s explore how these variables can possibly effect how we feel and operate here in the mountains of Sunny San Bernardino. Get you pencils and a notebook kids. Prepare to learn about the ways your body operates with hydration in altitude and elevation.


First, let’s realize a few facts about water. We know it’s essential to our wellbeing and health but in what ways? Water helps us tolerate heat, altitude and cold. Have you ever been in the gym doing a sit up and think “wow, 60% of me is water.” That’s almost equivalent to the earth which is composed of about 71% water. When our bodies have too little water though it can lead to what we call dehydration. Essentially dehydration is a lack of water. This lack of water can exhibit itself in multiple ways such as, weakness headaches, irritability, nausea and vomiting. Patients can even experience signs and symptoms of shock and a change in mental status.


So now that we understand the issues of dehydration you are probably saying “So Toast how are we supposed to be able to avoid dehydration?” Well, have no fear. It’s easy to ward off dehydration. Much like most medical problems the main principle is prevention. Thirst, in fact, is a great determiner of when to drink. It turns out our bodies are pretty good at regulating our necessary water intake. Some individuals think it’s important to add salt or sugar to their water. But if you are eating a well-balanced diet this isn’t the case. When rehydrating be sure to avoid caffeinated drinks such as tea, coffee or alcohol, as these will only deplete water from your system. Keep in mind when hydrating cool water is also absorbed faster than hot water. So now you are probably saying “wow Toast you’re really smart!” Nonsense, I didn’t learn all of these things by myself. Science taught us the principles of dehydration.  One last note on dehydration. It can take time to become dehydrated. So consequentially it can take some time to become rehydrated. An individual who is severely dehydrated may even need help from a hospital with intravenous fluid therapy.


Here at Arrowhead Ranch one of the most common issues we see with our students is dehydration. This can affect their time here at camp and possibly make what could be a really fun experience less than enjoyable. We tell the students the first day that they need to drink 5 bottles a day to feel “normal”. I advise that any student coming up to camp brings a reusable water bottle. We do provide water bottles, but a personal water bottle helps teach responsibility, can hold more than 8 ounces and is better for the environment. Our cabin leaders and naturalists help promote drinking water by giving beads for each 5 bottles a student drinks each day. The best thing to do is to educate the students and encourage them to drink water.

Written By: Toast

Featured, Geology

Is It Your Fault or Mine?

Today we’re going to talk about various geological formations at Arrowhead Ranch and how they were formed! Below, in the first picture, you are able to see Mount Baldy, a mountain visible from Strawberry Peak. Mount Baldy is part of the San Bernardino mountain range but is in fact on the opposite side of the San Andreas fault. The San Andreas fault is where the Pacific and North American tectonic plates meet and create a transverse boundary. A transverse boundary is where two tectonic plates slide against each other. The motion of two plates sliding against each other can cause earthquakes, which is why California has so many.

san andreas.jpg

In the next picture you are able to see a variety of rocks and minerals that can be found at Arrowhead Ranch. The difference between a rock and a mineral is that rocks are made up of minerals which in turn are made up of elements. One of the most common rocks found at Arrowhead Ranch is granite, which is the most common intrusive igneous rock and also makes up the bulk of the continental crust. An intrusive igneous rock is a rock which cools beneath the earth’s surface. Because it cools beneath the earth’s surface, intrusive igneous rocks have larger crystals, which can often be seen. The granite seen around Arrowhead Ranch often contains three common minerals: mica, quartz, and feldspar. Mica is a flaky and black, quartz is a colorless mineral composed of silica, and feldspar is the one of the most common minerals in the world and can appear either white, pink, red, or even gray. In contrast to intrusive igneous rock such as granite, there are extrusive igneous rocks such as obsidian, a glassy black mineral often found in arrowheads, which cool quickly and hardens without crystals.


Featured, Geology

Ogres, Onions, and the Earth

Ogres, Onions, and the Earth

By: Mars

Ogres, onions, and the Earth are really all one in the same…if you think about it. Ogres and onions have layers just like this very Earth that we live on! You might think that you are standing on a giant pile of rocks, which is probably true, but the below all of those rocks there are even more layers to our magnificent planet.

layersNow let’s start with that pile of rocks we were talking about, geologists (scientists who study the Earth and its processes) call this outermost layer of the the Earth our crust. Just like a pizza, but probably not as tasty and definitely not as cheese! We have two different types of crusts here on Earth: oceanic and continental. Oceanic crust is the layer of rock that sits beneath our big beautiful oceans. This layer is made up of basalt, an igneous rock formed the cooling of lava. Basalt rock is composed mostly of silica, magnesium, and iron. This crust ranges from roughly 3 to 5 miles in thickness. Our continental crust CRUSTon the other hand, is made up mostly of granite, an igneous rock formed from the cooling of magma. Granite rock is composed mostly of silica, aluminum, potassium and calcium. This crust can is made up of valleys and mountains so it can reach thicknesses up to 25 miles! Much like how our pizza crust is broken into different slices, Earth’s crust is broken into pieces we call tectonic plates. We have seven major, large, plates and many minor, small, plates, that pieced together make up the crust of our Earth.

As we continue to peel back the layer of our Earth we make our way to the mantle. Unlike a mantle you might find in your house above your fireplace, this mantle is viscous, meaning it moves around like a thick liquid, maybe even a little jelloy! The viscosity, or jelloyness, of the mantle allows heat to travel in convection currents, just like an oven. Convection currents occur when hotter matter rises, pushing down cooler matter, which is heated and the process continues. Our tectonic plates which rest on top of our mantle move as these currents circulate. Our mantle is composed of silica, magnesium, and iron, similar to the rocks found in our crust. This layer is very important as it makes up 80% of Earth volume and is roughly 1,800 miles thick!

Next we have Earth’s core which, just like an apple core is located in the middle of our Earth. Our core is divided into two parts: the outer core and the inner core. The outer core is made of liquid iron and nickel and is about 1,400 miles thick. While the inner core is composed of solid iron and nickel and has a radius of about 760 miles. The iron in Earth’s core generates 90% of the Earth’s magnetism.

Just like ogres and onions beneath each layer is another one, containing new questions and discoveries. The more layers we peel back the better we are able to understand the Earth we live on!     



Image Sources:

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